Skip to main content

Public Records Laws and Social Media Retention in
New Jersey

New Jersey Open Public Records Act Laws and Social Media

Social media records in New Jersey are subject to the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), which defines records as “Any paper, written or printed book, document, drawing, map, plan, photograph, microfilm, data processed or image processed document, information stored or maintained electronically or by sound recording or in a similar device, or any copy thereof, that has been made, maintained or kept on file … or that has been received in the course of his or its official business …”

By this definition, public agencies’ information posted to social media and the comments received on those posts constitute records under New Jersey’s OPRA.

New Jersey Social Media Records Policy in Practice

Many municipalities are still uncertain about how OPRA applies to social media records in New Jersey but are nevertheless taking steps to maintain records. This trend is significant when keeping records of comments removed from social media sites due to violations of an agency’s posting policy. One example of such policy and the records retention implications comes from Metuchen, NJ, which states, “[a]ny content removed based on these guidelines will be retained by the Borough Administrator and/or her/her designee pursuant to the applicable Borough retention policy.”

Social Media Record Retention Legal News in New Jersey

Read about New Jersey cases and precedents involving social media and public record retention.


New Jersey superior court judge rules that content on social media is a public record under OPRA.

A clerk in The Borough of Glen Rock denied a resident’s records request for social media content when he saw that council members were blocking citizens on Facebook. However, when the lawsuit went to a Superior Court, the judge ruled that such social media content is a public record under the Open Public Records Act. Glen Rock paid nearly $30,000 in legal fees.

Judge rules that a police department in Trenton, NJ is responsible for producing social media records.

After denying a records request for social media records, the police department received a lawsuit from the resident. As a result of the lawsuit, a judge ruled that the police department was responsible for producing records from social media and ordered the department to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees.


How Social Media Archiving Works

Download the Solution Overview to see how social media archiving helps you achieve public records compliance. Automatically retain every post, photo, comment and more from your social pages for record retention.

eBook Comprehensive Social Media Archiving Compliance